Operational Research Society

Operational Research Society
Formation 1948
Type Learned society
Headquarters Birmingham
Key people
Gavin Blackett
Website www.theorsociety.com

The Operational Research Society or The OR Society is an international learned society in the field of operational research (O.R.), with more than 2,500 members (2011). It has its headquarters in Birmingham, England.


The OR Society was created in April 1948 as the Operational Research Club, becoming the OR Society in 1953. It is the world's oldest-established learned society catering to the O.R. profession[1] and one of the largest in the world,[2] with members in 53 countries. A full history of the OR Society can be found on the OR Society website.[3]

Founding members of the OR society included: Charles F. Goodeve, Patrick Blackett, and Charles Tizard.


The OR Society is registered charity number 313713[4] and also a company limited by guarantee. Its charitable objectives are:

The management of the society is overseen by a General Council, consisting of up to 36 members. Its affairs are managed by a board, consisting of five officers elected by the membership, including the President, the immediate Past President or the President Elect, two vice presidents, an Honorary secretary, and up to five members of the General Council.[5]

The current president is Geoff Royston. Previous presidents have included Sir Owen Wansbrough-Jones, Maurice Kendall, John Giffard, 3rd Earl of Halsbury, George Alfred Barnard, and K. D. Tocher.

Membership and accreditation

Membership of the OR Society is open to anybody who is or has been in a profession directly connected with the Society's aims. Members of the OR society may apply for accreditation.


There are three types of subscription-based membership:

In addition the Board may elect Honorary Members. Honorary Members are not entitled to vote or to ay other privileges, rights, or liabilities of paying members.


Accreditation indicates that the accreditee has been judged by the OR Society to have reached a certain level of professional development and O.R. capability. There are four OR Society accreditation grades:

Full details on accreditation can be found on the OR Society website.


The OR Society publishes the Journal of the Operational Research Society, Knowledge Management Research and Practice, Journal of Simulation, European Journal of Information Systems, O.R. Insight, Health Systems, and Inside O.R. (a monthly news magazine). The society's publisher is Palgrave MacMillan.

Training courses

The OR Society organises a number of O.R. and Analytics based courses to allow O.R. professionals (and others) to gain appropriate skills for their careers. These courses cover O.R. methodology such as system dynamics, simulation, soft systems, web analytics, data-mining; other useful tools such as VBA and Excel; and consultancy skills. These are generally short courses, between 1 day and two weeks.


The OR Society organises several conferences each year to promote the use of O.R. and for attendees to exchange ideas. These conferences include:


The OR society has two sorts of subgroups: Regional Societies and Special Interest Groups.

Regional Societies

The OR Society has a number of regional societies which enable members to promote O.R. and allow them to build contacts with other operational researchers working in their (or related) area(s) and to expand their knowledge in O.R. The current regional societies include East Midlands, London & South East, Midland, North East, North West, Scotland, South Wales, Southern, Western, Yorkshire & Humberside. These regional societies organise meetings, works visits and other events.

Special Interest Groups

The OR Society has several special interest groups (not based on regions) which organise meeting on specialist topics and allow members – and others interested in the subject – to exchange ideas with those who are working in that specialist topic. The OR Society currently has special interest groups in the following subject areas:

Career Days

The OR Society organises an annual Career Day for employers to recruit graduates and those who are interested in work in O.R.

Interaction with other bodies

The OR Society works with a number of other bodies, to achieve common aims, including (amongst others):


To promote and disseminate O.R. knowledge and working practices the OR Society gives awards (medals, prizes and grants). These awards include (but are not limited to):

The internet and social media

The OR Society maintains a number of web sites for different audiences. These include:

See also


  1. Parnell, Gregory S.; Driscoll, Patrick J.; Henderson, Dale L., eds. (2011), Decision Making in Systems Engineering and Management, Wiley Series in Systems Engineering and Management, 81, John Wiley & Sons, p. 2, ISBN 9780470934715, The Operational Research Society (ORS) is the oldest professional society of operations research professionals in the world
  2. As of November 2013, the History page of IFORS lists INFORMS as its largest member society, with approximately 10,000 members, and ORS and the Operations Research Society of Japan second with about 3000 members each. According to Olsson & Sjöstedt (2006), the ORS membership has been approximately 3000 since the 1970s: Olsson, Mats-Olov; Sjöstedt, Gunnar, eds. (2006), Systems Approaches and Their Application: Examples from Sweden, Springer, p. 45, ISBN 9781402023705.
  3. OR Society_History: http://www.theorsociety.com/Pages/Society/SocietyHistory.aspx
  4. Charity Commission of the UK, accessed 2013-11-02.
  5. OR Society_Constitution: www.theorsociety.com/constitution
  6. "KIM2013 Knowledge and Information Management Conference". The OR Society. Retrieved 2012-09-22.
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